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Your No. 1 blog source for rantings on The Sonics, The NBA, Voodoo, Chicken Bones, and Penis Invertings

#12. Elton Brand

Tuesday, October 11, 2005
#12. Elton Brand
Position: PF
Ht/Wt: 6'-8" 275lbs
Age: 26

Career Stats:

Fun Fact:
Apparently the Clippers = Cameron West with Brand being joined by fellow Devils Maggette, Daniel Ewing, and Shaun Livingston, who went against The Family when he bolted to the NBA.

Fun prediction:
The Brand & Maggette combo, along with Mobley, Livingston, and a rejuvenated Samiam, will take the Clippers to the playoffs. On the brink of advancing past the 1st round however, midseason pick up Trajan Langdon will choke in the closing minutes and foil Duk... errr, the Clipper's championship dreams.

Stepping into the confession booth

Alright. Let's just get this out of the f**king way right now. I did NOT have Manu in my top 10. Let's all take off the homer glasses for just a second and acknowledge that The Sickness did have The Timmeh's help, along with that of a wee frenchman, the defensive ankle breaker that be Bruce Bowen, and of course the ever under-rated Raaaaashoo!

In MY LIST, I had Ginobili #15. Rightfully a respectful distance from the top 10.

Ray Allen was #19.

Yes. Manu is better than Ray. You may now step up and rip off my Sonics badge of loyalty. I hope someone can take satisfaction from that sentence.

Ever so briefly, what are some of the more popular opinions on why Sugar Ray should be considered better than Manu?

-He's the superstar! the guy on the team that not only fills up the stat sheets, but breaks backs, nails coffins and seals fates of opposing teams when it comes to The Crunch. And yes, truly it is a responsibility only an elite few can carry on their shoulders (unlike Dy-Lan "the whole world rests on my shoulders!" of Da Band fame).

And yes, this is true of Ray. The Kings game in which he was hearing signals from outer space comes to mind. More importantly Rashard's panty performance in that same series.... don't even get me started. Only proves the importance of having someone who won't wet himself when a Man is needed. There IS something to be said for having a guy willing and able to make the big shot.

And 05 playoffs/finals Manu did exactly that.

-But Ray's a waaay better offensive player, right?
Ummm, not really.

While Ray undoubtedly is one of the game's pre-eminent pure shooters, Manu averages more pts per shot attempt, and has a higher usage rating than Allen. I'll say it again, as great an offensive talent as Ray is, he'd be even better if he drove in more often and took advantage of his gawdy FT%. I mean, does anyone even remember that Ray partook in the Slam Dunk contest once!? Do you Ray? Huh? Do ya?! In de face Ray! Shoot it in de face of that damn muther bastard!! At least once in a while please!

-But surely age will catch up to the balding Sickness right!!
Manu: 27
Ray: 29
To do list for Senor Allen: call up MJ and Reggie and learn the ancient art of The Basketball Crane: ye' olde fadeaway jumpshot with leg overly extended to catch the defenders body and get to the line move.

-He's a better defen...
Uhhh. No.

That about sums it up.

Oh yeah. F**k Manu. F**k Bowens. F**k TP. F**k you and your whole MF'ing crew. Thug life 4-eva beeyatch!

go sonics!! yeahh!!

and back to our regularly scheduled program.

#11. Andre Kirilenko
Position: SF
Ht/Wt: 6'-9" 220lbs
Age: 24
Nicknames: hmmm...
Fun facts: Shiba's website is best seen to be fully appreciated. If I interpret correctly Alfredo's fantasy world would include endlessly playing with children, spending countless hours on the computer, and owning a menagerie of dogs, horses, pumas, and jaguars (move over Jacko, you've got company.) He also likes dill, ice cream, and non-alchoholic cocktails. (that'll be one cosmopolitan bartender... with a cherry and umbrella please.)

The skinny on The Skinny: 1.15PSA, 13.4ppg, 6.1rpg, 2.2apg, 2.4bpg in 30.6mpg career averages. And a damn fine defender and teammate. With great hairstyles.

#9 Dirk Diggler

Friday, August 19, 2005
#7. Dirk Nowitzki
Position: PF-C
Ht/Wt: 7'-0"/ 245 lbs
Age: 27
Fun Fact:Enjoys reading and playing the saxophone in his spare time

Dirk Nowitzki. A truly underhyped, underappreciated, offensively unguardable player. Seriously, he's 7'something, has a decent post game, good handles, and a great outside touch (1.16 career PSA). Oh, and he can also hit the 3ball (.375 career). All from the 4-spot. If the late 80's and early 90's were the reign of the Centers, I think it's safe to say that we are somewhere in a PF age of renaissance with Garnett, TD, Nowitkzki, Amare, J.O. and so forth playing in the NBA.

Purely statistically speaking Dirk had the 5th best season in 05, based on Hollinger's PER stat. (just to reiterate, do not misinterpret me by misinterpreting Hollinger and his PER stat. The PER rankings do not directly correlate to best player and I'm not taking it to mean so, just as he's quite often alluded to. Just used as a reference point, so don't misquote me and insult his stat when i throw it out there only as a basis for argument. Now, as we were.)

In 04 Dirk was 9th in PER.
In 03 Dirk was 6th in PER.
Roland Ratings (i.e. +/- goodies)?
In 05 he was 4th
In 04 he was 19th.

If you were to throw all those tidbits into a nonbiased ranking machine, Dirk would definitely have to come in higher than 9th (I actually have him 7th). So why does he drop so low? One word: Defense

But...hooold-up-wait-a-minute! (woot! woot!)

Contrary to popular belief, Dirk ain't that bad a defender. Not only that, but he also ranked above Amare defensively, one of my main reasons for nudging Amare over Dirk in my list. So... where does that leave me?

1) Conclude that I wuz wrong.
2) Conclude that Rosenbaum is nutty.

Naturally, I chose the latter. Kidding. Some things that make me feel comfortable with keeping Amare>Dirk are: with regards to the rosenbaum stat, Amare's name is inconveniently missing, leaving him anywhere between 11-49th on the list. Meaning he theoretically could be the 12th best PF defensively, and leaving a non-existent difference between he and Dirk. And also, I'm still not fully sold that Rosenbaum's stuff, while crazy cool and all, hasn't got all the kinks fixed yet. Another factor that came into play was Dirk's poor performance in 05 playoffs (though I didn't put TOO much value into that)

So, while I begrudgingly admit I may be wrong in throwing Amare over Dirk, KG,TD,Shaq,Kobe, & T-Mac still get the nod over Dirk, IMHO.

And furthermore, I'll freely admit, if Dirk truly is an above average defender, I have no doubts his skinny-scrawny whiteness influenced me into believing he was a weak one-on-one defender that couldn't bang in the paint, provide a tall, physical presence naturally desired from the 4-spot/a guy of his height/wingspan. I would also tend to believe that in strictly looking at his physical ability I discounted a possible edge he had in basketball smahts, i.e. not missing def. assignments, playing good help D.

And on to no. 10.

Should the Sonics match Damien Wilkins' offer sheet?

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Damien Wilkins has supposedly signed a 5yr $15M offer sheet from the T-Wolves. Not coincidental I'm sure, is the fact that former assistant Sonics head coach Dwayne Casey now runs the team in Minnesota.

Because of his Restricted Free Agent status, the Sonics' have the option of matching that offer and keeping him.

Here are some comments from devoted Sonics' fans at the Sonics P.I. forum (here's another one done a while back as well when rumors of him going to Portland started circulating) and other places that both root for and against matching the offer:

Here are some general thoughts on why the offer shouldn't be matched:

1. Wilkins turned an above his normal ability-type post season into a gawdy contract he's not deserving of/capable of backing up with a consistent performance
2. 15M/3M per year is overpaying for someone of Wilkins caliber
3. Furthermore, that type of money is overpaying for a role player
4. He ain't that good (tied to 1... and 2... and 3 as well I suppose.)

Here's his stats (from my stat site of choice)
Here's ESPN's stat site which shows and allows you to compare his 05 and playoff performance:

With regards to him playing above his head in the playoffs, leading to this contract, that is false. If anything you'd have to argue he played above his head in both the playoffs and the regular season since they were almost identical.

The numbers:
05 Stats: 17.9mpg 6.3ppg 2.3rpg 0.9apg 0.8spg
Neat-O stats: 13.4per .27 3P% .500 TS%

So why exactly are so many fans so excited to pay that man his money? For me, quite simply it was what I saw out of him from watching him play. If I may go generic broadcaster on everyone, this guy played great minutes when given the chance. He showed flashes of brilliance offensively. Showed a keen eye, quick first step, and great on the ball/off the ball defense. Wasn't afraid of the limelight and was willing to take the open shot. He's got that "it" factor folks.

Now, tying into the money... I'm a little too lazy (as usual) to compile the numbers and spit out the average, but if you go through the large NBA team/player salary database at hoopshype you won't find practically any veteran player (i.e. player NOT still tied to a cheap rookie contract or signed off the street/NBDL contract) who makes less than 3M. To say 3M is overpaying for Wilkins is effectively saying that his abilities can easily be matched by a player roaming the non-NBA, non-drafted world, i.e., you can pick up a player either from the draft, or from NBDL league, who is just as good.

And of course, therein lies the difference. Is Damien Wilkins destined to be an overpaid 0-12 min per game 8th-10th man off the bench type player? Forever destined to mediocre status or even worse destined to a Mateen Cleaves-cheerleader-on-the bench-status... for 3M per year? Or will he be a solid 12-20mpg 6-8th man off the bench type guy. Will he be one of those off the bench high energy/change of pace type guys with stats and ability justifying keeping him over filling his role with a much cheaper journeyman type player?

To summarize, I believe:
-Wilkin's 05 post season = 05 regular season = MINIMUM capability of Wilkin's 06 and beyond
-3M per year is not overpaying for a quality role player
-Wilkin's has the potential to be more than just a quality role player

And that's all I have to say about that.

Splitting hairs...

Friday, August 05, 2005
#7. Tracy McGrady
Position: SG
Ht/Wt: 6'-8" 210lbs
Age: 26
Fun Fact: Part of Tracy's deal with the Rockets is that he has his own jet

Another deviation between myself and Matt on this one. I had T-Mac ahead of Kobe by the narrowest of margins. Thought process:

Here's Kobe's stats.

Kobe has the edge in scoring efficiency, T-Mac has a slight rebounding and blocking ability advantage. Ability to create shots, wether posting up, the pull-up J from downtown, driving in, creating And-1 situations, & highlight reels? Kobe edged him out in this fun stat this year (both top 5) although T-mac has a career edge. Splitting hairs really. Kobe's got 3 rings to T-Mac... so there's THAT too.

To me the decision came down to 3 things: Being the Man i.e. "Clutchability", Defense, and Versatility.

Clutch factor: playoff game on the line, down by x, x:00 minutes, or seconds remaining, who do you want with the ball? Two years ago, I give Kobe the outright edge. But post 05 Season /Playoffs McGrady performance? Post 05 regular season Spurs-Rockets game in which T-Mac scored a gajillion straight points with 30 seconds to pull of the improbable comeback? T-Mac's finally realized he's a great big bear, and is finally using his fangs and claws to tear up NBA rabbits everywhere. He's all growns up peeps.
Advantage: Draw

Defense: Again edge used to be outright Kobe's The generally accepted notion several years ago was that Kobe was a +defender and T-mac had the ability, but was non-committal/lazy on the Def. end. I'm not sure that edge exists anymore. If it does, I would guess the gap is no longer that huge between the two. So, regarding the present/immediate future, guarding SG's I'd call it a slight wash b/n the two, maybe a slight edge to Kobe.
Slight advantage: Kobe (maybe)

BUT, T-Mac is 6'-8" (kobe's 6'-6") with a considerably longer wingspan and, as shown in the Dallas series, has the ability to guard when the occasion dictates, the other teams star SF or PF. I'm not saying he locked Dirk down in that series, but that ability, to me, is a huge plus.
Advantage: T-Mac

Yet again, like the KG over TD choice, I have no problem with others preferring Kobe over T-Mac. But for me, it's T-Mac in 05.

(And if you consider my choice Kobe-hatin' influenced, read on.)

No. 5, With A Bullet

Wednesday, August 03, 2005
#5. Shaquille O'Neal
Position: C
Ht/Wt: 7'-1" 300lbs
Age: 22
Nickname: Shaq, Shaq-Fu, The Diesel, Superman, The Big Aristotle
Fun Fact: His name means "little warrior" in Arabic
Fun Fact #2: In his IMDB profile, he is "credited" with both acting and producing Kazaam & Steel.

Coming in at No.5 is a player both myself and Matt pegged in at No. 4.
05 Skinny: 22.9ppg, 10.4rpg, 2.3bpg, 1.17PSA, with a 27.0 PER

Don't really have much more to say about the big guy that wasn't alluded to in my 2 spot post. He's a giant among mere earthlings. A game changing enigma, a game-planning nightmare, and a quote-making machine. His game? Overwhelming, Overpowering, ever-intimidating... yet rarely as entertaining as the AI's and T-Mac's of the league. If he had ever taken my advice he could've had a realistic shot at challenging Jordan for G.O.A.T.. His penalty for such an atrocity is being dropped to #5 on some loser bloggers' list. That is all.

My 7 degrees of Shaquille O'neal connection:
Last week I went with my sister ring shopping in L.A.. We went to all the appropriate and classy joints first like Tiffany's, Blue-Nile.com, (sadly there was no Shane Company, located next to the I-5...) etc... In the end she ended up going with Shaq's personal distributor of duy-mends, Tony.

Tony's shop is located in downtown L.A. The downtown L.A. east of 8-mile. One block away from To-ni's shop some folks were peddling Dianetics (is this where Tom Cruise had his revelation?) to passerbys on the sidewalk, besides a shop selling 50,000 different 2-pac t-shirts for a buck-99. 'Bout a block to To-ni's shop I passed by the largest pile of dog s**t, aptly placed on the middle of the sidewalk, I have ever laid eyes on. It's smell was actually overwhelmed by the piss-foul smell sunk into the sidewalks. His store had the most welcoming steel bars adorning it's windows I've ever seen.

Tony was sporting one of the largest diamond encrusted crucifix's I've personally seen and was wearing a yankee cap, brim flat and to the side, with a throwback jersey. Tony's security guard looked eerily reminiscent of the huge convict Ed Norton got his s**t pushed in by in American History X. Tony's receipt was hand written.

And BTW: Tony had the deals going. If you're ever rolling by downtown L.A. in need of some duy-mends I highly reccommend seeing the guy who outfits Shaqs ears and wrists with the goods.

And now, you have a friend in the diamond business.

(And now, back to our regularly scheduled programming)

Lost in the hooplah...

Tuesday, August 02, 2005
The largest trade in NBA history occurred today.


Heat obtained: Antoine Walker, Jason Williams, and James Posey, Andre Emmet (?)and D.R. to a Roberto Duenas
Grizzlies obtain: Eddie Jones and Raul Lopez
Boston obtained: Curtis Borchart, Qyntel Woods, D.R. to Albert Moralles, (2) 2nd round Heat picks, and cash
Charlotte obtained: Rasual Butler, Kirk Snyder
Utah obtained: Greg Ostertag

Lost in the shuffle is the fact that, hidden in the process, Antoine Walker, he of the <1.00 pps, and minus/minus statistical fame, was given a 6yr-53 MILLION dollar contract, greater than the combined contracts of SAR and Stro Swift. (A run on sentence worthy of a running joke)

That is funny to me.

That is all.

Step Aside Diesel...

Monday, August 01, 2005
#3. Amare Stoudemire
Position: PF/C
Ht/Wt: 6'-10" 245lbs
Age: 22
Nickname: S.T.A.T.
Fun Fact:
1st time he dunked: 13yrs old.
1st time he reverse dunked: 14yrs old.
1st time he dunked off the backboard off of a Steve Nash head-bounce pass: 22yrs old.

05 Season Stats: 26.0ppg, 8.9rpg, 1.6bpg, 1.26PSA, 26.6 PER

Impressive? Not really. Not compared to his encore performance in the playoffs:

05 Playoff Stats: 29.9ppg, 10.7rpg, 2.0bpg, 54FG%

Before venturing into this list I felt certain that I would have Shaq in the 3 spot. Several reasons pushed him down, or more appropriately, charged Amare up the list.

1. Relevant stats: All things considered, the two had relatively even super-good years. Shaq clocked out averaging 22.9ppg, 10.4rpg, 2.3bpg, 1.17PSA, with a 27.0 PER. Push comes to shove, I'd give the edge to Shaq. But not by much.
2. Age: Stoudemire: 22, Shaq 32. This needs to be considered to estimate the effects the 32 to 33yrs old transformation will have in Shaq's 05 performance and likewise Stoudemire closing in to the peak 23-29 age group when players tend to shine/get it together/peak, before slowly eroding in ability. Also tied into this is the higher likelihood that Shaq spends considerable time off the court due to injuries.
3. Circumstance: 04 Shaq had 03 Lakers, 08 Kobe, and 100M other reasons to motivate himself to lose some weight and throw down an up yours to the haters!- type season on the masses. Not this time around big fella.
4. The other side of the court: Defense.
Getting lazy, I'll just copy some of what Matt mentioned, for which I agree with wholeheartedly:

DPOY should never, EVER (period) go to a guy under 6'-10". Look, the NBA is not a one-on-one matchup. Being a lockdown perimeter defender will only get you so far if you don't have somebody to funnel towards... a non-negligible part of defense is rebounding... great defensive teams have somebody anchoring the middle. Defending the basket. Blocking and changing shots.

This was the initial reason I was leaning towards shaq initally. Given the option of an outsanding 5 vs. an outstanding 4 of similar talent/ability, I go with 5. And likewise down the line, sizewise. Call it an offshoot of the Bill James' defensive order of difficulty/skill theory (C, SS, CF... uhhh, ballboy, mascot, manager... or something like that).

For two players of abilities as close as Shaq and Stoudemire, Shaq should come out on top in the end because of his ability to effect the game from the defensive end. The problem is, he's no longer THAT dominating a defensive presence. In the 05 Regular Season, Miami actually allowed 1.4 less points per 100 possessions when O'neal was off the court. Opposing teams also shot a better eFG%. The kicker? A majority of these minutes his substitute in the lineup was Michael Doleac (Doleac logged in 1142min compared to Alonzo at 242m, FYI). Caramba. So, while these numbers cannot be used to directly compare him to players on other teams, it does tend to indicate, to me at least, a reduced ability to impact the game as behemoth shot blocking/play altering presence in the middle (be it due to a loss in step or from his tendency to play the most panty pick and roll help defense known to man is your call) and nullifies any position advantage he had in my eyes over Stoudemire.

Years from now you're gonna be telling your grandkids that you were witness to one of the most overpowering forces ever to take the nba hardwood. In my opinion, the odds are about even that you will be referring to Shaquille O'neal circa 99-2001... or Amare Stoudemire circa NOW-2012. Shaquille O'neal 2005 will be nowhere near the discussion.

Sonics to sign PG Rick Bunson


Quick analysis:
While I would have obviously have preferred to see A.D. back, this to me sounds reasonable over fighting over the table scraps left in the PG FA market that be Earl Watson and Co.


Guy is 32 years, saw his most significant playing time last year for which he showed a good Ass/TO ratio and shot the 3 at 37%, the two top qualities I'd like to see from a backup guard, should the sonics implement a similar offense to last year. And since he's only being signed to a 1 yr min. deal, I have no reservations about signing a 30 something backup PG. What's more, choosing not to throw more money at this position may imply that the Sonics will throw enough money to retain the Radman. Cool indeed.

The List

Updated Monday

What started as a simple Sugar Ray vs. Manu debate a couple of months ago has officially mutated into a full blown epidemic. Starting today, myself and Matt at Spursblog will be forming

The List

Question: Rank every single player in the NBA. Best to worst. That simple.

Much like Milwaukee, we're saying f**k it and completely disregarding any form of salary ramifications typically tied to such an experiment. There will be no "Corey Maggette is better than Michael Redd for 90 million different reasons..." arguments (THAT,will proven much more simply with a few simple pluses and minuses) And Upside? You wanna talk about a guy with upside? Watch this...right here! Bam! (yet more royalties going to the SG's way)

Because of the survivor style simplicity of the rules Dwyayayyane Wade will have to prove his merits of being the better Superman sidekick over the Anti-Christ Kobe Effin Bryant based on actual immediate performance/expectations only, and NOT on his abilities to grow into his underoos and eventually becoming The Man.

FYI, the way I interpreted the question was to assume all players were FA's, contracts doled out for all were equal regardless of talent & endorsement disparities. And as simple as it sounds you couldn't imagine the frustration I endured trying to decide between player x over player y * infinite. But I digress.

So, without further adieu....

1. Kevin Garnett
2. Tim Duncan
3. Amare Stoudemire
4. Lebron James
5. Shaquille O'Neal
6. Kobe Bryant
7. Tracy McGrady
8. Dwyayne Wade
9. Dirk Nowitzki
10. Manu Ginobili
11. Andre Kirilenko
12. Elton Brand

Ticketing in at No.1...

#1. Kay Gee: Kevin Garnett aka The Big Ticket
Ht: 6'-11"
Age: 28
Fun fact:
Quote from Garnett's Mother: "He was so long. Twenty-three inches."
-Garnett's mother, Shirley Irby in describing the difficulties it took to deliver son Kevin during a 26 hour delievery.


I'm sure many people who begin reading this will immediately disregard this list altogether from the fact that Timmeh isn't at his proper location, perched atop the list.

But, quite simply, the numbers don't lie:

Top PER ranking 2 of the past 3 years? KG (including last year)

Top Roland Ratings 2 of the past 3 years? KG

Stats over the past 3 years:

Tim Duncan
22.0ppg, 12.1rpg, 3.2apg, 2.7bpg, 0.8 spg and two rings
Kevin Garnett
23.2ppg, 13.6rpg, 5.6apg, 1.7bpg, 1.5stp, and zero rings

The two glaring reasons why I believe so many people discredit the mere notion of KG being better than Duncan are:

1) the rings on Timmeh's fingers
2) the higher consistency at which Duncan has reigned at the top of the hill.

Take a look at the numbers for yourself:

Over their collective careers, I would wholeheartedly agree with the deafening majority that Duncan indeed has both performed consistently better and accomplished more than KG. But in picking one of the two to build a team around for a one time shot at the 'ship, I don't hesitate in trusting what the numbers show, that in 2003 The Kid finally figured "IT" out and transformed himself from merely mortal all-star to Uber-top 5 player and in seasons 04 & 05 arose even higher to outright take the champeeenship belt, in a Florida-esque tight and controversial manner, from the defending lb4lb title holder Timmeh The Toolman Duncan (A.W.E.S.O.M.-O. says that nickname is lame!).

As stated by Spursblog reader Rocat in this comment debating the issue:

"..evidently, and quite unbeknownst to me, KGvTD has become an either/or bright line of faith. I happen to think TD is better, maybe. And only a little bit. Let's face it, you don't have to hate one to love the other. They're both extraordinary players...."

I will openly listen to anyone arguing the merits of TD being at the top of their list. I mean seriously, look at his career stats at b-r.com: those are just some silly ridiculous bananas and oranges type numbers and you quite often do forget just how MF'ing great this guy is/has been. But this isn't an argument over who is/will be considered the G.O.A.T., but rather the G.O.Next.Season.

Furthermore, I will not bother to join in on a conversation which considers the argument laughable because of the whole Duncan's 2 rings to none advantage declaring the subject null and void. That is a futile excercise. Let it go, indeed.

And besides, over 3 years that ring total averages out to a measly .008 rings/game. Not even a blip on the radar! (I keed, I keed.)

Now to declare the runner up I hand the conch over to blogger #2...